Every so often, I will invite David Briggs, co-founder of Tricord Global, to write some blogs because his knowledge and passion for social impact is incredibly apparent.
Today is one of those days! Please welcome him to the blog, and I hope this teaching inspires and educates you as it relates to social impact investing.
Alleviating Poverty: Giving versus Investing
Have you ever heard the expression, “there are two sides to every coin?” In the effort to alleviate poverty there are two approaches, both of which have merit. One approach is charitable giving and the other is empowerment through microfinance and micro-enterprise development.
The Time and Place for Giving
I don’t want you to be misled by my passion and focus on Microfinance over charity to draw a conclusion that I am against aid, benevolence, charity, or giving. I believe that there is a place for that type of provision to fill temporary gaps of extreme need and to alleviate the “in the moment need” caused by crisis.
In fact, it is very clear within Christian thinking and theological expectation we should not withhold good to those whom it is due when it is within the power of our hand to do it. We could list a thousand and one things that are worthy of a charitable consideration and should be responded to without hesitation. However, this type of benevolence was never intended to be a cure for poverty or tragedy. Neither does it have the ability to initiate true change or a long-term cure.
Lasting Change through Microfinance
For this type of lasting change to happen, there must be a shift in the 2.6 trillion dollar credit disparity in the developing world. We must be engaged in efforts that will shift this disparity and foster financial inclusion for those who have no access to credit or capital.
Our desire for our clients is to launch out of Tricord as “viviparous entrepreneurs” with a need to function externally in the economic markets. We desire for our clients to be launched into the liberating, un-boundaried world of independence and limitless possibilities. Our hope is that they be diligent in taking on self responsibility and create their own opportunities through faith and economic informed risk. We wish for them to become influencers, community leaders, and empowered instigators of change.
The reason for our hands on training with a model of apprenticeship, partnership, and ownership responsibility is because it gives them both instant reward of success that is met with instant opportunity to mitigate failure. All the while having Tricord’s system and relationship as a safety net to help them through the learning curve without doing it for them.
The truth of the matter is, Microfinance operations in undeveloped, hard to reach places to the poorest of the poor is very expensive and labor intensive. However, with patience and the willingness to make the decisions necessary, it is possible. Overcoming these challenges are within the realm of possibility and the goals of solvency, self-sufficiency, and financial stability.
Together, we are making a lasting social impact on the lives of many while expanding Kingdom influences in other parts of the world.